Tanya Singh is the creator of NAARI magazine. Her career began right after she completed her majors in advertising, marketing and public relations in 1995. Her first venture was with Magna Publishing, a prestigious group in India producing many high-end magazines, including Savvy, Society, Interiors and StarDust. This began her fascination with the media world, since when she has grappled with many projects in the print and television industry, gaining insights into the nitty-gritties of its workings.
Her husband’s job brought the family to Hong Kong in 2010, but with two small kids she didn’t find life easy here on her own. It took them a while to settle in to the local culture, but Hong Kong is a dynamic society and before long they understood that it suited them well! At that point Tanya started the second innings of her career by joining a magazine. She managed its business for three years, during which time it edged its way into the main league in the world of print media in Hong Kong. Some lucrative business offers followed and Tanya became known among the who’s who in Hong Kong’s Indian community.
However, keen to do something of her own, she settled on the idea of creating a lifestyle magazine for the woman of today, which she called NAARI, to cater to women across all communities. Her aim with the magazine is to give readers exclusive and exciting articles, news and information, with an emphasis on women as a whole rather than just their bodies. Tanya looks forward to seeing it prominently placed in exclusive prestigious outlets. Sitting down to write this bio about herself, she says, gives her immense pleasure to be a part of WiPS and to meet so many women from whom she can learn so much.
Very warm Christmas cheer to each and every one of you lovely ladies!
Jason Ng, our Truth & Memoir panellist, said that parents worry about their children until the ripe old age of 99 years. “It’s a son’s job to tell his dad he’s alright!” So too for all you daughters out there: tell your mum, your dad, your aunt or relative you are with this Christmas, that you’re doing okay, and WiPS is, too. And remember to pack that extra copy of Imprint 18 for that special Christmas gift. If you’re staying in Hong Kong, Skype and FaceTime work their magic effortlessly.
Three months ago, WiPS was on the verge of folding. It is now upright and active. This is because of a good deal of faith and fellowship from those who continue to support us. “Thank You” to those who could attend our Call to Action and Truth & Memoir events. We ask now that everyone makes a commitment to attend 4 out of 5 functions in this next year. This way the events will be successful and WiPS will prosper.
During Truth & Memoir, Heather Diamond, Gillian Bickley and Jason Ng, all spoke of their experiences visiting past haunts to help their writing. If you have started a memoir or been thinking about it for ages, why not pick up a notepad and pen and revisit your past. It might be a street, a park or even a room if the family home is around. Nostalgia is a Christmas thing after all. Even if it’s a day out all alone to focus on that Christmas Slice of Life passage or a Work in Progress, try it!
You may also wish to look at Google Docs, recommended by Jason as being commonly regarded as the easiest and most reliable place to save your work. Pete Spurrier, our fourth panellist, suggested: “Every author should have a blog.” I’ve used Wix.com and found it great to navigate. Other bloggers I’ve watched on YouTube also recommend WordPress.com, which has been around for longer. Something to think about or take action on perhaps. But just remember, as Gillian said: “You can’t do anything else when writing a book.”
If you need a good read to help you unwind this Christmas, check out Jason Ng’s latest publication Hong Kong Noir, Pete Spurrier’s Serious Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong or Gillian Bickley’s The Golden Needle.
I thank all of our committee members: Polly Yu, Carol Dyer, Heather Diamond, Connie Lee, Jo Farrell and Sandra Gibbons for their generous gift of time, helping us to grow.
Soak up all the love and laughter you can this Christmas. It starts with you and bounces right back.
Authors Heather Diamond, Gillian Bickley, Jason Ng, and publisher Pete Spurrier share their insights on memoir writing with WiPS
By Michele Koh Morollo
Organized by the WiPS Committee, Truth & Memoir, took place on the evening of 10 December, at the Hughes Room in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. The event generated a buzz and excitement and was well attended by members of the Hong Women in Publishing Society and a number of guests interested in memoir writing, who got the chance to mingle with the speakers and each other over drinks and canapés before and after the talk.
Heather Diamond, author of “American Aloha: Cultural Tourism and the Negotiation of Tradition” read excerpts from her work in progress – about her cross-cultural marriage to a Hongkonger – demonstrating the importance of humour in memoir.
Gillian Bickley, a poet, writer, editor, publisher, and writers’ mentor at Hong Kong Baptist University and HKU Space, discussed her research methods for “The Golden Needle” – her biography of Hong Kong pioneer educator Frederick Stewart – disclosing how much patience and tenacity is required for the task of life writing.
Jason Ng has published four non-fiction books and is presently working on the biography of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, which will be published by Penguin. He talked about the rigours of his work process, and through reading an excerpt about his relationship with his mother, revealed the powerful way that memoir can foster intimacy between writer and reader.
Pete Spurrier, founder of Blacksmith Books has published numerous memoirs. He shared his experience with the audience and gave them tips on how to best prepare their works for submission.
Thanks go to Jo Farrell for spearheading the evening’s organization. Those who attended left with a better understanding of how to find their voice and their truth in writing, and hopefully, many will now be ready to begin telling their own life stories.
Michele Koh Morollo is a Singaporean freelance journalist, copywriter and short fiction writer who lived in Perth, Sulawesi, London, and Boston before moving to Hong Kong in 2010. She is the author of short story collections “Rotten Jellybeans”, which was published in London in 2007, and “Without: Stories of lack and longing”, which was launched at the Singapore Literary Festival in 2018. She has contributed to Singapore and Hong Kong fiction anthologies, and is the Secretary of the Hong Kong Writer’s Circle. Her short story “Smile” will be published in the 2020 issue of The Alembic, the literary journal of Providence College.
WiPS inaugural ‘Informal Get-together’ was held in SoHo’s Club 71, which nestles among trees alongside a romantic French restaurant. Dressed for chilly weather and perching themselves like pretty pigeons inside the cosy little bar with its colourful walls were ladies of words, many words of course, since women do like a good chat. And a love of words, written, spoken, shared and gloriously arranged on a page like Imprint, was their common ground. It was their pride and joy and they discussed it a lot. They could discuss whatever they wanted, knowing someone would listen, since all these women were members of WiPS. And Imprint was their very own anthology. There’s nothing like a strong sense of pride to create a great deal of purpose and an excuse to socialize.
After the fright over the summer break of the potential closure of the society, it really was wonderful to have this opportunity to drink and mingle and keep it all going. WiPS has planned five main events for the next 12 months and these social nights complement the more organized affairs perfectly. Over 30 people attended the last event and a further 30 or more have registered for Truth & Memoir, which is next Tuesday, 10 December, in the FCC. Please join us if you can.
This first official social gathering is a beginning. Beginnings develop into plots and more good times, like the next monthly ‘Informal Get-together’ scheduled for 7 January. Initiated by committee member Jo Farrell, this monthly catch-up requires minimal preparation and you’ll find any effort to get there well worth it. We’d love you to join us next time!
Date: 7 January 2020, 6:30-9:30pm – same place, Basement, Club 71, 67 Hollywood Road (a small alley off Hollywood Road behind SOHO 69 – by Pak Tsz Lane Park)